In July of 2013, Burning Man partnered with the BusBank to offer the Burner Express Bus shuttle system to and from Black Rock City in an effort to reduce the carbon footprint and traffic associated with the event. Burner Express Bus successfully implemented a system that potentially removed over 1000 cars from the road, reduced the total public exodus time by two hours and created a rider experience unparalleled by any other nonaffiliated programs in the past.
Over 2300 tickets were purchased with departures from both the Reno Airport and downtown San Francisco. The feedback received from Burners who rode the Burner Express in 2013 is overwhelmingly positive. The buses entered BRC from a dedicated lane at the gate, bypassing the majority of entrance traffic, allowing riders express entrance into the city. The average time from the Reno Airport all the way to the bus depot at 6:00 and G was less than 5 hours. Similarly, during Exodus the Burner Express utilized a separate exit and was able to bypass exit queues of 4 hours or more. The ease of entry and exit from BRC was definitely the highlight for riders of this pilot program. Not only did they not have to drive after a long week, but they did not have to wait, and thus spent more time in BRC and less time waiting in traffic.
Large box trucks followed the buses to accommodate larger amounts of supplies brought by riders. In the future, this may be expanded to the San Francisco route as well, where luggage capacity was limited in 2013.
Based on the feedback we received and looking forward to 2014, we are considering a variety of add-ons to the service to enhance the rider experience such as a dedicated will-call for riders, the option for a longer shopping stop in Reno, increased luggage limits, dedicated water sales and bike rentals in Gerlach, and expanded departure times.
All-in-all, the program was a success, and we are eagerly looking forward to its expansion in 2014 to further reduce the impact our community’s traffic has on both the environment and our surroundings.